New Music

Interesting new music: V/A, X in O, T.Morimoto and more

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Various Asses – ‘Forever Baby’

Various Asses, or V/A for short, is another alias for Rachel Solier, better known as Fatti Frances. ‘Forever Baby’ is a brief instrumental with a drowsy and ruminative tone. It’s resonant and inviting, much like Fatti Frances’ more pop-oriented work, but without vocals the production sounds cavernous, almost ritualistic.

“V/A is a separate thing from Fatti – and I intend to keep doing both at this point,” Raquel Solier told me when I got in touch. Now a mother, Solier says she needs to go about making music a little differently now. “V/A has a small set of rules – quick decision making, delete at will, no vocals, use a secret sample of a song I love, and put things out there without thinking about it too much.

“[These are] all things I would love to do with Fatti but am to precious about it. In the end I think V/A is a clean slate where I can build more skills and experiment.”

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Craün Analysis

Craün is the work of Sydney-based artist Aris Hatzidakis. Analysis is his first album under this name, released earlier this year on Hush Hush Records both digitally and on cassette. It’s seven tracks of serene drone, reportedly drawing on field recordings of Sydney’s “industrial and natural areas”. There’s a lot of hushed, foggy drone music to choose from, but Hatzidakis is good at sustaining a cosmic, lonely mood across these seven tracks.

Get Analysis here.

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X In O – ‘Totally in a Blaze’

‘Totally in a Blaze’ is either about burning to death or getting high. It doesn’t sound like the ideal soundtrack for either experience, because it’s disorientating enough sober and un-ignited. If ‘Bucephalus Bouncing Ball’ were composed by a crazed circus ringleader, maybe it’d sound like this?

This track appeared earlier this year on a small run cassette called RAW, but Kat Martian, aka X in O, aka half of Brisbane duo Brainbeau, assured me it will turn up again at some point in the future. Whether that’s on a new record or a reissue of RAW is yet to be determined. “If my new stuff is drastically different I’ll just release the old stuff as it was on the small run of RAW,” Kat told me. That’s just as well, as RAW originally issued in a run of 15.

In addition to appearances at the Ladyz in Noyz showcases in Adelaide, Sydney and Newcastle (it’s happening in Melbourne this week), X in O is planning a release with Russian artist Fureon Nectarmoon by December. Brainbeau is likely to have a release out in early 2016 as well.


Gravy Baby – Tripped Out Mindstate

This mixtape released back in April but it’s worth drawing attention to now, because Gravy Baby is among the most interesting local rappers I’ve heard of late. I was introduced to the south-west Sydney rapper via the clip for ‘Tripped Out‘, a bleak jewel in a local scene terminally fixated on self-help platitudes and dull social observation. I don’t know much about Gravy Baby personally – I tried to organise an interview but he politely declined – but the tracks on Tripped Out Mindstate mostly speak for themselves, and bring together a bunch of other likeminded Sydney rappers including Sky High and Nter. If you follow their names down the YouTube / Soundcloud rabbithole you’ll find some great material.

Get Tripped Out Mindstate here.


T.Morimoto – Crit Reflex

T.Morimoto is an alias for Sydney’s Thomas William. According to Thomas, the T.Morimoto name is meant to separate this work from his more dance-oriented material, and it’s probably for the best as there’s not much in the way of a ‘beat’ on Crit Reflex. Instead, these are seven short excerpts from longer improvisations using two synths, mixer feedback and an MPC1000.

“With the tape, I just wanted to do something that was totally immediate, had no particular conceptual focus, and had nothing to do with computers,” Thomas said when I got in touch. “I never really intended to release this stuff but he [Ryan Lloyd of label Junk Mnemonic] was keen just from hearing a couple on Soundcloud.”

“I’d describe it as an attempt to escape both the DAW, and any sense of criticality or conceptual intent,” Thomas continued. “I suppose [that’s] still a concept of sorts. I started recording these improvisations without intending to ever release them – as a way of escaping premeditation in terms of genre and avoiding the decision making process involved in using this or that set of sounds, or trying to get it to sound this way or that. I suppose it was a way of suspending the constraints that one inevitably works within when making music for a particular social context or with particular technology.

“Of course it’s impossible to ever transcend those containers, so in that sense this mode of creating music is doomed to instant failure and is inevitably subsumed straight back into a broader musical conversation or has certain descriptors applied to it by other people.  But I suppose that ongoing attempt to do those undoable things is what these recordings are about, if they have to be about something.”

Get Crit Reflex here.

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New Grog Pappy tapes

Newcastle noise label Grog Pappy has five new cassettes after nearly a year of silence. They include Pluto, Cone Puncher, a split between ‘Crabby Bogman’ and ‘Moocockcowsafari’ (at a guess, Cooper Bowman and Cock Safari), Silly String and Sick Boy. Based on the samples embedded on the Grog Pappy blogspot Pluto is an early favourite, an eerie meeting point between Ashtray Navigations and The Caretaker. All five are on sale for $20 until the end of September, so you might as well buy them all.


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Destiny 3000 – ‘380D’

I first saw Destiny 3000 play at the Imperial Hotel in 2013. There was lots of ’90s-inspired indie rock in Sydney at the time – boofy, emotionally vague guitar music – so I didn’t pay close attention. Two years later, they’ve just released their first 7 inch through RIP Society (they released a live tape on Paradise Daily last year) and it’s as warming as lo-fi guitar rock gets. I don’t have anything interesting to say about this, other than it makes me feel good, but also sad, and that I think you should listen to it.

Get the Destiny 3000 7 inch here.


The Rangoons – A Postcard From Rangoon Island

Lots of people brave enough to go out in public have said The Rangoons are one of Sydney’s best live bands at present. That may be true, but there are some great moments on this Paradise Daily cassette EP, especially the heartbreaking ‘Lunatic / Shadow’, which captures the same wistful melancholy as Garbage and the Flowers at their most restrained. The three-piece are playing at Paradise Biannually 2 (aka the second Rag Rag Festival) in November at Marrickville bowlo.

Get A Postcard From Rangoon Island here.

Features, Reviews

Scum Mecca #3

Contained here are eight reviews: five tapes and three 7 inch singles. Scum Mecca is the name of the column, an irregular feature on Crawlspace’s schedule. This is the second. Cooper Bowman writes it. This month the column covers the Charles Ives Singers, Skrogen, Sprot, Threads, TLAOTLON, X in O, Mad Nanna and a compilation. We’ve provided audio samples and images where possible, but most of the time it wasn’t possible. Sorry.


Charles Ives Singers – Unbuilt CS (Alberts Basement)

This absurdist group, led by Victor Meertens, has in my experience maintained no distinct direction and Unbuilt possesses a similarly disordered sense of navigation. On the first excursion, vocal scats n’ bloops move around horned instruments, building into a chaotic melee with the addition of an abused drum kit. Obviously a disjointed organ ditty follows. As does what appears to be Meertens doing his best auction caller in the background, his voice eventually mutating into a demented didgeridoo squall. Unbuilt continues in this typically disorderly and disorienting fashion for its 63 minute duration. CIS are not incarcerated by the conventions of melody nor common sense. However, as nonsensical as it all sounds, you can’t help but see that serious consideration has gone into its creation. The very fact that three people have all had this same thought is a bloody miracle, let alone found each other and committed the results to tape.


Skrogen – Self-Titled CS (Bunyip Trax)

Bunyip Trax is an elusive tape and CD-R label cultivated around the core nucleus of Joshua Petherick and Christopher Hill and the numerous groups in which they find themselves. Rather than the dense tape composition and atmospheric electronics usually found on BT, Skrogen is ball-busting grind-noise. Think Warsore, but more de-evolved, mutated and feedback saturated. Hill serves in a screaming and raving vocal faculty here, accompanied by Sean McMorrow on geet and Tom Miller on the cans. This is all there exists of the band. No shows and no signs of any future recordings. Another barely discernible footprint…


Sprot – Summer Of Sprot 7” (Wormwood Grasshopper)

The a-side “single” is all bass and cymbal engulfed in a swirl of electricity and what could be (but knowing those involved probably isn’t) vocals. This is as anthemic as Sprot will probably ever sound. The other side is closer to the seared electronic murk that I was expecting based on Sprot’s previous slew of CD-R releases on Breakdance The Dawn. Sounds like an old Corolla that won’t start no matter how many times you try to gun the ignition. My turntable doesn’t have 78 as an option so I can’t vouch for that, but both speeds on offer cause some distinctive, although equally pleasing, sounds to come out. Honestly, I’m just stoked someone had the sense to front up the cash to put Sprot on wax, good on ‘em.

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Threads – Tall Building 7” Lathe / DL (Kindling House)

This an extremely limited (twenty bloody copies) lathe-cut of a Brisbane duo comprised of Sandra Selig (Primitive Motion) and Stuart Busby (The Deadnotes). ‘Constellation’ begins in a dark enough manner, with trumpet, bass and distant reverbed drums dominating. ‘Elevator’ is extraordinarily brief, the sounds employed reminding me some of the squawk occasionally emitted by Sky Needle. The title-track is similarly concise and seems like more a sketch than a fully-considered song. Perhaps it’s Selig’s dominant vocals, but something about Tall Building might be a little too ‘nice’ to fully engage me. It doesn’t grab me in the same immediately vital way as the duo’s other projects. I’m sure there are plenty of people out there in 100% organic cotton shirts who’d argue otherwise though.


TLAOTLON – Teeth Alphabets CS (Dungeon Taxis)

While it was briefly based in Melbourne, Dungeon Taxis was probably the best tape label in Australia. From its new home in Brooklyn (the American one, not the one north of Sydney) comes a new batch of audio produce. TLAOTLON is a project helmed by Jeremy Coubrough that actively resists being simply defined. Coubrough forcefully collides sounds from dance, acid and experimental music in a startling original manner. ‘On The Trail’ builds an off-kilter rhythm out of ethnic-drum machine sounds, misfiring synth stabs and clattered bells. Whereas ‘Fingering Tyrants’ eschews melody altogether in favour of a layered swirl of punchy kick drums, electronic squeaks and portamento synth patterns. No matter which approach Coubrough takes, he nails it. Easily one of the most unique and consistently engaging tapes released last year.


Various – Golden Children Compilation CS (Magik Crowbar)

Golden Children is a relatively large-scale compendium of communiqués from several of the satellites orbiting planet Crowbar. There are numerous projects I was already familiar with; the astral synthscapes of Hyperspace Vision, Mshing’s harsh spew, the tape-concrete insanity of Oranj Punjabi and VDO’s dictaphone collage pieces among them. There’s also a slew of new names, some of which are most likely one-off projects, for instance the hilariously named Sepultra, that provide some of the tape’s best moments. The (possibly bootlegged) addition of US group Monopoly Child Star Searchers adds a further curveball. Some serious consideration has gone into the sequencing of Golden Children, it successfully flows as a single totality of consciousness-altering music. As a result it can be difficult to work out what you are actually listening to half the time, but knowing where you are isn’t really necessary when the environment is so appealing.


X in O – Untitled CS (Alberts Basement)

Apparently X in O is Kate Martin, one of the gals from Stag and presumably numerous other Brisbong bands. On ‘You’re My Satellite’ and ‘Solid’, Martin employs minimal drum machine and saccharine key sounds, often with a clubbish low end buzz underneath to good effect. However, the guitar strumming and woodblock sounds of ‘Spiralise’ slip over the wrong side of the precipice of twee. On the flip, ‘Total Recoil’ moves closer to a soundtracking style, followed by several more key-heavy tunes before ‘Hammer And Popsicle’, a mulch of digitised noise, interrupts. It would be lazy to draw a line between X In O and Scraps due to their shared geography and instrumentation, but there is definitely some mild cross-pollination going on. X in O is a mixed bag to be sure, some fine moments and others that are too easily relegated to the limited confines of ‘casio pop’.


Mad Nanna – My Two Kids / I’m Not Coming Here 7” (Soft Abuse)

Initially I thought this was just a re-release of Mad Nanna’s Unwucht single from last year and stalled slapping my hard earned down for it. However, if you remember my review of the previous 7”, I noted that part of Mad Nanna’s charm was that each time they play, the songs become instilled with a unique quality.  Someone else obviously agrees ‘cause these are the same two songs from the earlier rec, just with their order reversed and appearing in different forms. Both are recorded live at dive bar blackhole, IDGAFF, sometime in recent history. ‘My Two Kids’ rocks a little less messy and ‘I’m Not Coming Here’ is a smidge more decayed and terse this time around. Probably not everyone needs to own this, but anyone who does already knows who they are.

New Music

Listen: X in O – Sad

xinocover-313x500As we’ve pointed out before, X in O is the solo project of Brisbane’s Kat Martin, who also plays in Brainbeau. She has a new self-titled tape available through Albert’s Basement, and ‘Sad’ features on it. It’s a short and tragic instrumental – quite at odds with the previous material we’ve featured. Listening to ‘Sad’ is like finding a music box you listened to as an infant, except now its mechanisms are lurching towards death and the otherwise optimistic melody it used to loop sounds somehow bereft. This music is for all the times you stare at the wall and hope nothing really, really bad becomes of you.

New Music

Listen: X in O – Spiralise

This is a very strange and syrupy new track from Brisbane’s X in O, which is the solo vehicle of Kat Martian, who also plays in Brainbeau, Stag and Shooga, among others. According to her Facebook blurb, X in O “is obsessed with detritus and the unloved”, with the main concern of her music and art being “the reinvention of discarded materials”. I’m not sure what is being reinvented here, but it’s true that ‘Spiralise’ sounds like a screwed-up, slowed down and anaesthetised children’s television program intro, the synth lines glazed in fluorescent coloured ooze.

If you’re in Melbourne on October 28, you can see X in O perform at the Ladyz in Noize Australian compilation fundraiser, which will also feature performances by Bonnie Mercer, Lancer, Bleach Boys, Military Position, Onion and DJ Fuck Pokeno. Event details here.